The Woodend Visitor Information Centre is located in High St (the Calder Highway), beside the Five Mile Creek bridge, just north of the intersection with Forest St, tel: (03) 5427 2033. It is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily and can supply a picnic setting, including disposable plates, cutlery, drinking vessels etc. The centre has a pamphlet outlining the area's wineries, their whereabouts and a map suggesting a route which encompasses them all. The Macedon Ranges booking service, which handles bookings for accommodation, tours and services can be reached on (1800) 224 711.
Cycling and Walking
The information centre has a number of pamphlets outlining cycling and walking tracks around the town and district. There is a pamphlet relating to the town's heritage buildings and another which outlines a walk along Five Mile Creek (3 km return) which cuts across the highway adjacent the information centre. There are some good spots for birdwatching along the track. The western section leads through a black gum reserve. It is the only place in the state where these trees (Eucalyptus Aggregata), which have become the town's emblem, can be found.
The cycling routes (encompassing various levels of difficulty) have been put together by a distinguished author of bushwalking texts and hence the written material attract a small fee.
The Woodend Bridge, adjacent the Information Centre, is a single-span bluestone bridge faced with rusticated masonry. It was built in 1862 on the route to the goldfields. It has been widened since that time but in a manner that is not unsympathetic to the original design.
Insectarium of Victoria
The Insectarium of Victoria features what is alleged to be the world's largest crayfish, along with a wide range of insects. The Insectarium is located on the Calder Highway (next to the railway station) and is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Sundays, tel: (03) 5427 2222.
The Woodend Artery
The Woodend Artery, at 42 Anslow St (just around the corner from Devon Lodge), sells pottery and handwoven textiles. There are also classes, workshops and supplies. They are open from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday, tel: (015) 856 188 or, after hours: tel: (03) 5427 1987.
The Masters Fine Art Gallery and Literary Latte
The Masters Fine Art Gallery at 85 High St is open daily, tel: (03) 5427 1743. It is situated in the town's former mechanics' institute. Adjacent is Literary Latte - a combined bookshop and coffee shop.
Quick Brown Fox
Next door is Quick Brown Fox, at 81 High St, which sells baskets, windchimes, dresses, incense, stationery, homewares, toys, glassware, music, jewellery, perfumes and candles. It is open daily, tel: (03) 5427 3099.
There are large murals with historical themes outside the 19th Hole Shopping Centre in High St. Old photographs and written materials, indicating how Woodend has changed over the years, are displayed in vacant shops in High St, opposite the post office.
St Mary's is a fine bluestone Anglican church with excellent stained-glass windows. It was built in 1864 and is located in Buckland St. The chimes have recently been restored and now ring out attractively over the town.
Woodend Historical Society
The local historical society is housed in the 1870 courthouse building in Forest St. They have a family history resource centre and are open Wednesdays from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. or you can ask at the Information Centre for a green enquiry form if you're interested in family research. The society can conduct guided tours of the town for groups. These can be booked either at the information centre or by ringing the historical society on (03) 5427 2523 or (03) 5427 3361.
Adjacent the courthouse is the Log Cabin which was built by the Woodend Scouts in 1927. It was heated by an open-log fire and used by the Scouts until 1982. Unfortunately it was the subject of an arson attack in 1998 but there are plans to restore the building.
Also of historic interest, in Forest St, are the Woodend Masonic Centre and St Andrew's Uniting Church.
Woodend Berry Farm
Woodend Berry Farm is located in Tylden Rd (an extension of Forest St). There you can pick, or buy ready-picked, blueberries, in January and February. Out of season frozen blueberries are available, along with blueberry jam and chutneys, tel: (03) 5427 3939 or (019) 933 702.
Campaspe Park is located adjacent the Five Mile Creek Bridge. There are barbecue facilities. The Ruby Mackenzie Reserve is located in Tennyson St, off Anne Rd. Newell Reserve is in Christian St, between the tennis courts and swimming pool and there is a Rotary Park at the corner of the Calder Highway and Ashbourne Rd.
The golf course is situated on an extinct volcano and involves a cliff-top tee-off. It offers delightful panoramic views of the town and area, particularly from the 10th tee. It is very pleasant to walk up to the course via Brewster St. This is public land so don't feel like a trespasser.
Mount Macedon Winery
South-east of Woodend is the Mount Macedon Winery, situated high on the western slopes of Mount Macedon. Established in 1989, it produces chardonnay, pinot noir, sparkling wine, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon and are open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily. Light lunches are served in the cellar on weekends and public holidays, tel: (03) 5427 2735.
To get there turn off the highway into Brooke St. Once across East St it becomes Mount Macedon Rd. Turn right into Morris Rd which veers to the left as Bawden Road (a good gravel surface) which is where you will find the winery.
The ornate Braemar College (originally Clyde Girls' Grammar School) is based in a large two-storey timber building erected at the end of the 1880s. It features an octagonal tower and a highly ornamental facade projecting outwards from a central gable. The students of the college attended picnics at Hanging Rock (see subsequent entry) in the 1930s and 1940s and it is thought to have been this association which inspired Joan Lindsay's novel Picnic at Hanging Rock. The college is now a non-denominational Christian community school and it is located about 7 km east of Woodend on Mount Macedon Road. Dame Elizabeth Murdoch is an alumni and generous benefactor.
Hanging Rock Reserve
If you follow the Woodend-Wallan Road north-east out of town for about 10 km you will come to a signposted turnoff on the left into Coach Road then take the immediate right into South Rock Road. A short distance along here, to the left, is the entry gate to Hanging Rock Reserve. This small volcanic remnant, rising to 105 metres above the surrounding plain, was formed about six million years ago. The lava had an unusually high soda content and solidified into soda trachyte which also formed the Camel's Hump on Mount Macedon.
The rock has been a popular picnicking spot since late in the 19th century. Its usage as the setting for Joan Lindsay's novel Picnic at Hanging Rock is based upon the St Valentine's Day picnic attended by the students of Clyde School (now Braemar College) in the 1930s and 1940s. The story was later made into a lyrical film by Peter Weir. The Rock was also reputed to have been a hideout for bushrangers in the goldrush era.
The surrounding reserve, open from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. every day, has over 100 indigenous flora species which are particularly evident in spring and summer. There are also over 40 bird species, goannas and nine mammals including the greater glider, koala, kangaroo, wallaby and echidna.
The Hanging Rock Discovery Centre focus's on the Aboriginal connection with the area, , the flora and fauna of the reserve, its geological history and the mythology which surrounds the rock. There will be hands-on interpretive and walk-through displays.
The reserve has tennis courts, two ovals (available for hire), wide expanses of lawn and picnic-barbecue facilities. The Hanging Rock Picnic Cafe, at the base of the rock, sells Devonshire teas, lunches, local crafts and souvenirs. The dam in the middle of the racecourse is well-stocked with fish (you must bring your own bait and tackle and there is a bag limit of two fish per child).
Numerous walking paths criss-cross the reserve. Some will take you to the summit of the rock from whence there are fine views, taking in Mt Macedon to the south and the Cobaw Ranges to the north. Two-hour evening walks, conducted by a ranger, contemplate the fauna and geological history of the area. Bookings are essential, tel: (1800) 244 711.
Coaches and large groups are welcome but it is necessary for such congregations to contact the ranger first on (1800) 244 711 or (0418) 373 032. For further information and bookings ring (1800) 244 711. There is an admission fee as no financial assistance is provided by state or federal government. These fees are higher on special events days, such as the Car Rally and the Harvest Picnic. For internet information go to http://www.macedon-ranges.com.au
Hanging Rock Winery
The Hanging Rock Winery, established in 1987, is located nearby in Jim Road at Newham (12 km from Woodend via Coach Road - follow the 'Macedon Ranges Winery Tour' signs). The largest winery of the region, it is open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily and offers a range of cool-climate wines, including the award-winning sparkling 'Macedon', the Jim Jim Sauvignon Blanc, a chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet/merlot, tel: (03) 5427 0542.
Jack-in-the-Green Primula Nursery
The Jack-in-the-Green Nursery has unusual primroses, polyanthus, primula species and rare perennials. They are located about 4 km south-west of town along Ashbourne Rd which heads west off the Calder Highway at Woodend. The nursery is open Thursday to Monday from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. but closed entirely in January and July, tel: (03) 5427 1381.